Germany names its first national natural monument | DW Travel | DW | 04.08.2016

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Germany names its first national natural monument

They are some of the largest and oldest trees in Europe. To protect them, Germany's Ivenack Oak trees are getting a one-of-a-kind status.

The Ivenack Oak Park in Germany's northeastern Mecklenburg-Western Pomeranian region was named a national natural monument on Thursday - the first site to the receive such a title.

"You have to have great respect for such extremely old trees," said Jochen Flasbarth from Germany's Ministry of the Environment. The oaks in the park are over 800 years old.

The Ivenack Oaks arose during the Middle Ages when the area was used as a wood pasture for livestock. The presence of the animals thinned out the forest, which improved the conditions for trees like oaks and beeches.

The largest oak in the park is 3.49 meters (11.45 feet) wide and 35.5 meters tall and, based on its rings, is estimated to be up to 1,000 years old. It's considered to be the oldest and largest oak in all of Germany.

Some 50,000 visitors annually come to see the unique Ivenack Oaks.

Places of scientific, historical, geographical or cultural importance and which are particularly rare or beautiful, can be named national monuments. They are particularly common in the United States, though the title is bestowed in other countries as well.

at/kbm/eg (with dpa)

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